My space opera trilogy is finally all finished, except for the going over the copyeditor’s notes on the last book, so I can turn my thoughts back to graveyards. I’ve visited several lovely ones in the California Wine Country in the last couple of months, so I will start researching and writing those up soon.
Today was the meeting of the Cypress Lawn Book Club down in Colma. Our third book was The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh. I went down early, so I could park under a tree and read in the cemetery on this glorious summer day. (Cypress Lawn was featured as the Cemetery of the Week here.)
The highlight of the book club meeting was that we were joined today by Mary Ann Cruz, the director of the Cypress Lawn Cremation Society. She has worked as a mortician, embalmer, and mortuary cosmetologist for 16 years, so her backstage stories were fascinating, colorful, and a whole lot of fun.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I re-read this for the Cypress Lawn Book Club and enjoyed it a second time, but I still don’t find it particularly funny. Some of that is my familiarity with Forest Lawn in its current incarnation, complete with speakers in the trees piping music across the flat grave markers. It’s hard to be over the top when the bar is set so high.
The book club was put off by the way the female characters are depicted, but the book was published in 1948 and I don’t think anyone comes off particularly well. I could look past that.
I think that if you’re curious about backstage mortuary practices, if you’re a cemetery aficionado, quite possibly if you loved Mad Men, you should check out this book.
You can pick up a copy of your own from Amazon here.
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